You could say Tevin Farmer has boxing in his blood.
Whether due to the influence of the fighting city of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania from which he hails or the royal boxing blood line that courses through his veins. Whatever the reason one thing is certain:
Tevin Farmer was born to fight!
If Washington D.C., the national capital is the King City in America and New York the Queen City with its economic power then Philadelphia is the Crown Prince. At the confluence of the Delaware and Schuylkill rivers Philadelphia is the largest city in the commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Rich in history and culture Philadelphia has played a pivotal role in American life since its founding in 1682 by a Quaker real estate entrepreneur from England named William Penn.
Philadelphia enjoys a reputation as a city of firsts; the first library, the first hospital-the Pennsylvania Hospital founded by Dr. Thomas Bond and the inimitable Ben Franklin in 1751 ostensibly "to care for the sick-poor and insane who were wandering the streets of Philadelphia." And the first medical school, the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine some 15 years later in 1765. There students enrolled in courses to study "the theory and practice of physik." Philadelphia also served as the nation’s first capital incorporated in 1777.
Like many major American cities, Philadelphia was also shaped culturally by the influx of African Americans both freedmen and former slaves following the collapse of the Confederacy after the American Civil War in 1865. The Great Migration from 1880-1930 saw Philadelphia’s African American population swell from just around 31,000 to over 220,000. And like many growing American urban centers of the late 19th and early 20th century this change in demographics and culture did not come without growing pains.
Following the demobilization of soldiers after the end of World War I returning vets struggled to find work in a crowded market. Left Wing groups were also growing in strength and number in America and abroad and civil rights groups like the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) began to agitate for equal rights in society and on the job. President at the time Woodrow Wilson, a staunch segregationist himself said of the climate at the time "the American Negro returning from abroad would be our greatest medium in conveying Bolshevism to America.”
One of the first spasms of racially motivated violence occurred in July of 1919, nicknamed the Red Summer by NAACP activist James Weldon Johnson, more than 30 cities from Charleston, SC to Philadelphia exploded in riots. Philadelphia, Baltimore, New York City, Los Angeles all have struggled to contend with issues of race, poverty and class throughout their history.
One thing all those cities have in common as well is that Boxing has been a consistent vehicle for some to rise above their circumstances and achieve a better life.
Tevin Farmer is as resilient and tough as the fighting city he calls home.
Born on the 30th of July 1990 Tevin Farmer known as The American Idol did not choose boxing initially, he was a natural athlete and enjoyed a wide array of sports, usually following the scholastic season; football, baseball, basketball, Tevin enjoyed them all and excelled at every one.
“Everything I ever did I was one of the best, or the best on the squad.”
That physical prowess carried over into the boxing gym as well.
He got into boxing around 19, relatively “late in life,” Tevin is without major amateur accolades, he has not been on any Olympic Teams nor won any major world titles before turning pro. Nevertheless, Tevin found that his competitive drive and natural athletic ability was quite suited to the boxing ring, “I was an all-around athlete, period. Coming over to boxing, I went to the gym sparring top dudes and held my own. I knew he had talent.”
Fighting out of Victory Boxing gym in Cherry Hill, NJ Tevin’s trainer Raul ‘Chino’ Rivas has already produced one champion, Tevin’s boxing brother, close friend Jason Sosa who recently suffered a loss at the hands of Vasyl Lomachenko. Heartbreaking for both men they train together constantly and are very close. Sosa remarked, “My brother Tevin can really fight. I don’t get nervous when I fight, but I get nervous when he fights.”
I imagine the feeling is the same for Tevin, watching the rather lopsided victory of Lomachenko last week must have been a bitter pill to swallow. However, Sosa and Tevin are hungry, fearless fighters and their records do not tell the whole story.
Tevin struggled initially after deciding to turn pro losing his debut fight in the 4th round to Oscar Santana in February 2011. Another Philly fighter of some repute named Bernard ‘The Executioner” Hopkins lost his debut fight as well and went on to become one of the greatest Middleweights in the history of boxing.
Tevin went just 7-3-1 before getting a crack at former IBF Super Featherweight champion Jose Pedraza, a highly decorated amateur champion and undefeated at the time Tevin took the fight on extremely short notice and was out of his depth. Yet Tevin still hung in until the 8th round before being stopped.
A record sometimes is just a number when you may be destined for greatness.
Philadelphia exudes greatness in the sport of boxing from immortals like Lew Tendler and ‘Smokin’ Joe Frazier, to tough contenders that were harder than a coffin nail like Henry “Toothpick” Brown, Randall “Tex” Cobb, “Bad” Bennie Briscoe among a blinding list of other legends.
Tevin does not have to look any further than the mirror to find a boxing legacy-his great, great grand uncle was none other than ‘The Old Master”, Joe Gans. A true blood and guts warrior who was once in a contest so brutal he nearly lost an eye. However, Gans is remembered as a supreme ring general with a high fight IQ for his day and clearly Tevin has grown adept at the family trade.
Considering Tevin has been learning on the track he’s done exceptionally well, Tevin oversaw his own promotion in the past which is itself a full-time job Now, Tevin is taking pro boxing seriously and approaching the sport professionally. He has aligned himself with a promoter, Lou Dibella and with Dibella’s help Tevin can focus 100% on his training. He has a nutritionist and access to strength and conditioning. Since the loss to Pedraza Tevin has rattled off a stunning 17 straight wins all by stoppage or unanimous decision.
The needed changes show in the ring, his performances have been nothing short of dynamic! With an athletic style, reminiscent of Pernell “Sweet Pea” Whitaker and the intelligent defense of Floyd Mayweather, Tevin has continued to add impressive victories to his resume. There was a one-sided beating of Angel Luna who was 10-0 at the time. Tevin had tough veteran Daulis Prescott down three time before the Kayo came in the 8th round. Perhaps his best performance came against the wild Ukrainian Ivan Redkach. Tevin appeared to win every round as he cut Redkach to ribbons with slick counters, fast hands and clean punches.
Tevin has made enough waves that other champions are starting to notice, pound for pound king Andre ‘S.O.G’ Ward the current undisputed light heavyweight champion has said publicly that everyone in the boxing word is “sleeping on Tevin Farmer, he can do it all.”
Real Recognize Real.
Most recently Tevin was in the news after a public confrontation between he and IBF Super Featherweight champion Gervonta “Tank” Davis went viral. Stemming from a long-standing beef between the two, Tevin has been angling for a fight with Davis for some two years however the favored prospect of Al Haymon and Floyd Mayweather has proved elusive. In the current climate fans and promoters alike are so quick to write off a fighter with just one loss never mind four. Further, fighters understand that while there is a glut of titles they are a bargaining chip to leverage higher purses, bigger fights or just more control over a fight once it does get signed. Davis and his team know this and will exercise that control ruthlessly.
Next up for Tevin is Arturo Santos Reyes, with a record of 19-7 his resume might not impress at first blush either however he’s never been stopped in those seven losses and went the distance with Abner Mares. The fight is scheduled for the 29th of April at the Liacouras Center in Tevin’s home town Philly.
You get the sense that Tevin is just one win away from a big fight that finally puts him on the map, with an energetic crowd pleasing style and a hunger to take on all comers Tevin is on track to place his name next to those great Philly fighters of the past and ensuring the future of the sport for years to come.
In the end, Tevin is just as resilient as the city that gave birth to so many legends of the ring and created the inspiration for the cinematic hero Rocky, a tough Philly fighter who rose to the top despite obstacles and setbacks in life and in the ring, it’s no wonder that Tevin Farmer is being embraced more and more by the boxing world. Fans, fellow fighters, critics and promoters have recognized the talent and hunger of the young man and true to form the kid is calling out everyone from 126 pounds to 135-from Leo Santa Cruz to Vasyl Lomachenko could be next.
Stay by your phone, that call may be coming, Tevin Farmer is looking for a fight!